Peckish Complete 5 in 1 bird food November 2011
Peckish Complete 5 in 1 first look
Now that winter’s on its way you may be thinking about putting some food out for the birds. Seeds are preferred by many wild birds and are a good natural feed, so Which? Gardening takes a first look at Peckish Complete 5 in 1 to see what it has to offer.
Peckish Complete 5 in 1 seed mix from Westland is a new addition to the range of Peckish bird foods. It's currently available from independent garden centres, and to order online at Amazon, and costs £4.99 for a 2kg bag. It’s a high-energy seed mix designed to be appealing to a wide range of wild birds, and features a new pouring spout to make it easier to fill your feeder.
What does Peckish Complete 5 in 1 claim to do?
As the name suggests, this seed mix promises five main things:
- Brings more birds to your garden
- Attracts colourful birds
- High energy
- No mess and no waste
- Suitable for feeder, table and ground feeding
Getting more birds in your garden
This seed mix contains high-energy seeds that are known to be popular with wild birds, including: kibbled wheat, red millet, safflower, kibbled maize, sunflower hearts, whole naked oats, flaked naked oats, pinhead oats, red dari, white millet and kibbled peanuts; along with added oyster-shell grit as a calcium supplement.
As with most seed mixes, Peckish Complete 5 in 1 is suitable for most types of feeder, including hanging seed feeders, tables and ground feeding. This makes it accessible to the kinds of birds that wouldn’t usually eat from a hanging feeder, such as robins, thrushes and blackbirds.
Attracting colourful birds to your garden
Wild birds such as blue tits, bullfinches, greenfinches and goldfinches are colourful, but not always seen in domestic gardens. The foods they prefer to eat, such as wildflower seed, berries and insects, are usually more abundant in the countryside, in fields and hedgerows. Some seed mixes, such as this one, claim to cater for these kinds of birds with their blend of seeds. However, Peckish Complete 5 in 1 doesn't contain berries, insects or niger seed (for goldfinches).
Oil-rich or fatty foods are seen to be good for providing garden birds with energy to cope with winter or migration.
High-energy seeds, such as sunflower, safflower and kibbled peanut, are included in this mix. They are broken up and husk-free, which means the birds need to use less energy to eat them.
No mess and no waste
Birds do not usually eat the husks on seeds, resulting in the husks being flung on the ground, along with the seeds that they don't want to eat. This causes a mess on the ground that can attract unwanted visitors, such as pigeons and rats, and whole seeds can often germinate and grow into weeds.
Suitable for hanging feeders, table and ground
Depending on what kind of feeders you have in your garden, this seed should be suitable for most. We found it easy to fill our small hanging bird feeder using the easy-pour spout, and the bag was easy to reseal afterwards.
No-mess bird food tested
In our last test of no-mess bird food (Oct 11), we trialled the most popular brands of bird food that claimed to be ‘no mess’. Our test included Peckish Complete 5 in 1’s former self, known as Peckish Feeder Blend. We were told by Westland that the old version we tested includes the same types of seed as the new version, but in different proportions.
Our tests found that none of the no-mess seed mixes were significantly better than usual ‘messy’ bird food. All of the seed mixes on test contained seeds that birds tossed from feeders and all of these germinated. The most popular mix we trialled was straightforward sunflower hearts. Less were dropped on the ground, and those that did get dropped were more likely to get snapped up quickly by ground feeders, such as blackbirds and chaffinches.
One of our triallists found that so many seeds were tossed out of the seed mixes it was better to have three feeders filled with different foods: sunflower hearts for tits and finches; peanuts for starlings and woodpeckers; and mealworms for blackbirds, thrushes and robins.
Our verdict on Peckish Complete 5 in 1 bird food
The ingredients in Peckish Complete 5 in 1 are husk-free, crushed and appear to be of good quality. Most of which could be just what the birds in your garden need to keep going in the middle of winter.
However, while seed mixes are thought to appeal to a wider variety of birds, our last test found that most birds favoured sunflower hearts. The straight sunflower-heart feed proved to be the most popular with the birds, and far less were tossed than with the seed mixes. Sunflower hearts, however, do tend to be more expensive.
Pros: a varied mix that may appeal to more birds.
Cons: unwanted seeds from the mix could be tossed out and cause mess.